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Jonathan-Phillip (JT) Anderson ’17

By Nali Byrd '19 on February 17, 2017

1. How did you get involved in comedy?

I got academically dismissed after my junior year (spring 2015) for not handing in two final papers (no logical explanation, I just didn’t feel like doing academic work anymore), so I had to spend a year away. I was always into stand up, so being from NYC, I took the opportunity to dive into it. I took stand-up classes in the fall of 2015, started going to open mics, and just gradually made friends with a lot of comedians in the City.

2. What was academic dismissal like for you?

For me personally, academic dismissal was beneficial because it gave me the opportunity to realize how much I loved comedy and that I wanted to work in the field. Additionally, it gave me time to really understand what my life could be like if I didn’t graduate. Aside from doing stand up, I spent the year as a waiter in a restaurant. While I made good friends there, I knew that that wasn’t something I wanted to be doing long term. Consequently, I guess I’ve just taken my future a bit more seriously. I understand a bit more now that simply being accepted into Colgate isn’t the end of the road. You have to continue to work.

3. Any advice for students who may be going through similar feelings?

As for advice for not being dismissed, that’s tough. Most people accepted into Colgate have the potential to succeed. So when someone is on the verge of being dismissed, I feel like there could be various factors going into it. For me, it was laziness plain and simple. And I’m still pretty lazy, I just try a bit more academically I guess. For some, it takes dismissal to really put things into perspective. My advice for someone dismissed would just be to figure out what went wrong and understand that it’s not the end of the road. Keep working, keep trying. The opportunity to go to a school like Colgate doesn’t come to everyone, so you don’t want to take it for granted. Pretty generic advice, but that’s what I’d say.

4. How do you see comedy being used as a way of advocating/ educating others?

Most race-centered comedy is done problematically in my opinion, honestly. There are comedians that use race in their comedy in more positive ways. Trevor Noah is one example. He has this bit on colonialism on Youtube I highly recommend watching; it’s hilarious. Another comedian who’s great at using comedy as a way to promote political and social critical thought is someone we’re planning on bringing to Colgate at the end of the semester. The contracts aren’t signed yet though, so I can’t say who just yet.

5. Do you have any goals involving comedy either at Colgate or post-Colgate?

At Colgate, I just want to keep Colgate Stand Up progressing. For a club only in its second semester, we’ve been pretty successful so far. My goal is just to keep that up. One exciting show we’re planning that I’ll mention now is that we’re doing an all-women lineup on February 25th, hosted by Sydney Schultz ’19. I think that will be dope. Obviously, stand up is so male-dominated, having an all-women lineup should be refreshing.

After Colgate I definitely want to work in comedy in some capacity. I’d love to write for a TV show like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Daily Show, or Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Shows that use comedy to convey progressive political and social messages. Besides writing jobs, other goals are to just keep improving with stand up, and start producing my own shows in the City, just like we’re doing here at Colgate.

JT also encourages everyone interested in trying stand-up comedy on campus to reach out to him, and he recommends that people like the Facebook page for videos and photos from all comedy events facebook.com/colgatestandup.

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